Verizon Targets Heat Generated by Computer Chips and Circuit Boards in Latest Push for Network Power Efficiency

Verizon is looking to further increase the operating efficiency of its networks by requiring hardware manufacturers to use thermal modeling when designing circuit boards and cabinets used in network gear.  The goal is to minimize heat generation that impairs equipment performance and requires costly air conditioning in central offices, equipment vaults and other facilities.

Thermal modeling involves using a computer to simulate the heat flow around electrical components in equipment such as circuit boards, before the equipment is built. This enables the equipment to be designed in a way that minimizes heat generation and thus improves energy efficiency, and saves time and costs.

"When you optimize efficiency at the simplest level, you go to the heart of the process," said Chuck Graff, Verizon director of corporate network and technology.  "Starting in July 2010, equipment makers will be required to submit results of thermal modeling applied to their hardware that show they have optimized their circuits to generate less heat and perform more efficiently."

The new Technical Purchasing Requirement outlines the goal of the testing program, details test procedures to be conducted, and establishes a process for review of the results and approval of the equipment design. 

The requirement was published Tuesday (Oct. 27) during the 15th annual Verizon NEBS conference, entitled "Optimization of Telecom Networks Through Energy Efficiency."

In January, Verizon implemented purchasing rules requiring that new equipment purchased for deployment in the company's networks operate at a level 20 percent more efficient than the equipment it replaces.

"The new thermal-management requirements are actually a process for helping the equipment makers meet the 20 percent improvement goal, which then helps Verizon reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint significantly," Graff said.  "Circuit boards can work fine when they are generating more heat than necessary, but they work better and save operating costs when you pay attention to heat issues up front. That's the goal here."

According to Graff, the new requirement for thermal testing has been reviewed by many equipment makers over the past several months to assure alignment with the goals and the testing process.

The new testing requirement leverages powerful computational fluid dynamics computer tools that simulate circuit board and equipment design and the air and heat flow around components prior to the creation of a prototype, to maximize the energy efficiency of the design.

The benefits to Verizon are cooler operating temperatures, faster deployment because thermal issues are addressed earlier in the process, and lower costs for air conditioning.

The new testing process benefits manufacturers as well, saving them time and costs in the creation of prototypes, and thus shortening the time it takes to develop equipment that is ready for sale.

In his report to the conference, Graff noted that Verizon operates in 150 countries, occupies 31,000 facilities worldwide, maintains a 53,000-vehicle fleet and consumed 9.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and 59 million gallons of fuel in 2008.  During that year, the company reduced its carbon emissions by 303,000 metric tons.

"It's only by continuously challenging ourselves and our suppliers that we can continue to make progress in saving energy," Graff said.  "In the network venue, cutting down on the amount of cooling we have to do to optimize our equipment performance is a big target with big potential rewards.

"With this new testing standard, we're taking another important step toward savings in the carbon footprint and the expense of running the network."

For more information, go to www.verizonnebs.com.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 89 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 230,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.